Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  1. Romania sees new single-day record of coronavirus cases: Romania added 1,356 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic. The total coronavirus cases in the country reached 49,591 on Thursday, July 30, the authorities announced in the daily report released at 13:00. Separately, 526 patients who were retested still had the Covid-19 infection. Of the total cases, 26,609 patients have recovered, while 4,005 asymptomatic patients were discharged ten days after the diagnosis. The death toll since the start of the pandemic went up to 2,304 after 35 deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours. The number of patients admitted to intensive care units went up to 402, from 377 the day before. Overall, 7,265 coronavirus patients are admitted to hospitals in the country. At a national level, 1,177,630 tests were carried out by July 30. Of these, 23,346 were performed in the past 24 hours, 9,780 of them on request. The City of Bucharest (5,723) and the counties of Suceava (4,514), Arges (3,112) and Brasov (2,993) are the areas with the most COVID-19 cases recorded up to now. The City of Bucharest (223), Arges County (103) and Prahova County (78) are the areas with the most newly confirmed cases over the last informative bulletin.
  2. Over 55 pct of Romanians believe in coronavirus existence, whilst 12 pct say it is a fake: Over 55 pct of Romanians believe in the existence of the novel coronavirus, whilst 33 pct have doubts about its existence, and 12 pct believe it is a fake, found a survey by market research company Novel Research, conducted at the initiative of Provident Financial Romania.
  3. Romania to buy COVID-19 vaccine as Health Ministry takes necessary steps: President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace that the Ministry of Health has taken the necessary steps to purchase the COVID-19 vaccine together with other EU countries, insofar as it is available.

Political and regulatory

  1. New set of COVID-19 rules, slightly amended in the form passed by G.D.: The set of rules imposing mask wearing outdoors in certain agglomerated areas, distancing at the beach, with the exception of married couples and their children, and work hours restrictions for terraces and gambling halls (to be closed from 23:00 to 06:00), have been slightly amended in the form passed Wednesday by Government Decision. Thus, beach restrictions were dropped following criticism of how it was formulated to define a family (the official reasoning being that existing regulations in place by Health Ministry Order are sufficient), while the schedule (hourly interval) of clubs, terraces and gambling halls will be established by National Committee for Emergency Situations or Bucharest or county committees for emergency situations at the suggestion and based on the assessment of the public health department (i.e. based on the probability of the simultaneous presence of a large number of people in the respective time interval and how challenging it would be to ensure proper social distancing). The measures will be disposed for Administrative Territorial Units (UATs) where there is a significant community transmission or a rising number of infection.
  2. President: Situation is extremely serious, Romania must keep pandemic under control: Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis has labeled the current coronavirus situation in the county as “extremely serious” and said the country must keep the pandemic under control. Iohannis is to meet interior affairs minister Marcel Vela and Emergency Situations Department (DSU) head Raed Arafat on Thursday, July 30, to evaluate the situation, as the country added close to 1,200 new coronavirus cases on July 29. Speaking about the newly-introduced coronavirus prevention measures, the president stressed the importance of following them. Speaking about a potential reintroduction of the state of emergency, Iohannis said a decision in this respect could only be taken if specialists rule out other solutions. “I want to think there are other solutions,” he said. He expressed confidence that “together, we will manage to keep this epidemic under control, in a reasonable way.” The Romanian President has voiced support for holding local elections on September 27, arguing that the pandemic will definitely extend during autumn and winter as well and that there is no point in delaying the elections, as the situation will be mostly the same. As for the new school year opening in September, the head of state only said this issue is very concerning for him, and that “school will not start under normal circumstances”. He added that we’ll most probably have a mixed scenario- online courses and classes involving the physical presence in schools. “In a week or two this situation will be settled”.
  3. Tataru: Two difficult weeks ahead in which we will have a progressive growth. We are adapting hospitals: The Minister of Health, Nelu Tătaru, stated that two weeks of “progressive increase” of cases of COVID-19 infection will follow, and during this time they are working on adapting hospitals in the affected areas, but also in neighboring counties to be able to treat patients infected with this virus. He said that, if the prevention measures are observed, after two or three weeks we can talk about a flattening of the number of cases, Agerpres reported. “(…) If we do not respect these (safety) rules, we can expect a relatively progressive growth that the healthcare system will strive to manage,” Tataru also cautioned.
  4. President Iohannis: US soldiers are always very much welcome in Romania: President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday stated that the US soldiers are always “very much welcome” in Romania and that the global movement of troops of the US is meant to support allies on the Eastern Flank of NATO. He held a press conference at the Cotroceni Palace on Wednesday, on which occasion the journalists asked him about the announcement made by the US in relation to the intention to withdraw some of the US soldiers from Germany. He added that he did say before that there is need for more troops in the Black Sea area.
  5. President Iohannis meets five ambassadors; he assures them of authorities’ support in developing relations with Romania: President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday received at the Cotroceni Palace the ambassadors of Serbia – Stefan Tomasevic, Brazil – Maria Laura da Rocha, India – Rahul Shrivastava, Pakistan – Zafar Iqbal and Poland – Maciej Lang. He hailed the taking over by the new ambassadors of their mandates and wished them good luck in their activity while also assuring them of the entire support of the Bucharest authorities in their activities meant to develop their countries relationship with Romania.
  6. President Iohannis: Pensions to go up; 40% increase is simply not possible: President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday that pensions will increase, but it is “simply impossible” to increase them by 40%. He said the Government would decide how much the pensions would be increased.
  7. PM Orban: I ask ministries to get maximum involved in preparing partnership agreement with EU: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Wednesday asked all ministries to get “maximum” involved in the preparation of the partnership agreement with the European Union, considering that the Government is going to put up for public debate the structure of programmes for the multiannual budget 2021-2027 as of July 31. He brought to mind that the first version of the programme will have to be presented to the European Commission in October. “We need to be prepared to absorb the funds fast under this programme. So, again, let’s move fast,” said Orban.
  8. Bucharest Municipal Committee for Emergency Situations to discuss obligation to wear masks in Old Center: The Municipal Committee for Emergency Situations (CMSU) will discuss on Monday the imposition of the obligation to wear a sanitary protection mask in the Old Center of Bucharest, the deputy mayor of Bucharest, Aurelian Badulescu, told AGERPRES on Wednesday. According to him, the measure would be applied for a period of 30 days from the moment of approval.
  9. Law against discrimination at work comes into force in Romania: A law to penalize discrimination at work came in force in Romania, with fines ranging from RON 1,000 to RON 20,000 (EUR 200 – 4,000), Ziarul Financiar reported. The companies fined have the option to pay half of the legal minimum, meaning RON 500 (just over EUR 100) within a 15-day deadline.
  10. Orban: Gov’t supports Sibiu County University Hospital, a bold, indispensable project: The government supports the construction of the Sibiu County University Hospital, as it supports all projects to develop the quality of medical services, Prime minister Ludovic Orban said on Thursday in central Sibiu, after participating in the presentation of the site of the new medical facility.
  11. PNL, USR-PLUS shake hands for common candidates in Bucharest, PMP left out: PNL has reached an agreement with USR-PLUS in the homestretch on common candidates for the Bucharest district city halls. On the other hand, another right-wing party, PMP, founded by former president Traian Basescu, has been left out, as USR-PLUS did not agree to give up a district city hall to PMP. Negotiations are continuing today. PMP chairman Eugen Tomac said today that his party has not been invited to the Alliance for Bucharest, as USR is opposing. Tomac said PMP had not been invited to any negotiation and that the only talk he had was with Nicusor Dan, candidate for the Bucharest General City Hall, whom he is willing to endorse. Tomac believes that PMP has candidates that can win against the PSD, yet only an alliance can win all the five Bucharest districts, whereas by going separately only one district would have a right-wing mayor at best. Former PMP chair and ex-President Traian Basescu had warned he would run for the Bucharest mayor if the right-wing parties did not shake hands for common candidatures. In his turn, Nicușor Dan has voiced confidence that the right-wing parties will “have the wisdom” to reach a deal on the candidatures for the local elections in Bucharest, as they did in his case.
  12. Wearing a mask has become mandatory in several counties: Apart from Arges and Dambovita counties, wearing a mask in open spaces, in crowded areas, has become mandatory also in Valcea and Galati counties, while Prahova County is also likely to vote on this measure.
  13. Cazanciuc: As soon as we have the signatures, we will submit the motion of censure: The interim President of the Senate, Robert Cazanciuc, stated on Thursday that the motion of censure against the Orban Government will be submitted as soon as all the necessary signatures are collected, according to Agerpres. He claimed that almost all the signatures for the motion of censure were collected. Cazanciuc was also asked if a PSD congress should be organized before the censorship motion would be submitted. “We definitely need a congress, as soon as possible (…) We need a congress to stabilize the party leadership and to gather all the energies around a team. The team must work at full power. You see that we need a very firm position, we need to bring down this Government as soon as possible and for that we need all the energies to be behind a team,” said the Social Democrat.
  14. PSD CExN discusses local elections and validates candidacies; Ciolacu will propose the dissolution of the Ilfov organization: the National Executive Committee (CExN) of PSD meets on Thursday to discuss the local elections and to validate a series of candidacies for these elections. The president of PSD Bucharest, Gabriela Firea, declared on Tuesday that the organization she leads has prepared the candidacies for the City Halls of districts 2 and 3, which will be validated in Thursday’s meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee. Asked by journalists if he will leave PSD, the mayor of district 4, Daniel Băluţă, stated that his place remains in the party. The interim president of PSD, Marcel Ciolacu, announced on Tuesday evening that he will propose the dissolution of PSD Ilfov and the appointment of an interim team in Ilfov. The reaction comes following allegations in the media against PSD Ilfov management. According to sources from the party’s leadership quoted by Mediafax, the Social Democrat leaders would have decided, in Thursday’s meeting, that the PSD MPs should submit a motion of censure against the Orban Government until the middle of August. According to the quoted sources, most of the presidents of county organizations voted for a motion of censure by mid-August.

 

Impact on the economy

 

  1. Official statistics: Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stays 5.2 pct this June: Romania’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate kept steady at 5.2 percent this June, the same as in May, the National Institute of Statistics (INS) said on Thursday.
  2. Number of deregistered companies drops by 27.5 pct in H1 2020: The number of deregistered companies decreased by 27.55 pct in the first six months of 2020, compared to the same period of the previous year, to 12,046, compared to 16,626 companies in January – June 2019, according to data centralized by the National Trade Registry Office (ONRC). Meanwhile, the number of companies and legal entities that entered insolvency dropped by 26.16 per cent in the first six months of 2020, compared with the same period last year, down to 2,360 insolvencies.
  3. Bucharest Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Duchy of Luxembourg sign protocol to develop economic cooperation: The leadership of the Bucharest Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIB) and that of the Romania – Luxembourg Bilateral Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIRL), together with the representatives of the Honorary Consulate of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in Bucharest, signed on Wednesday a collaboration protocol for the development of economic relations between the two parties, a CCIB release mentions.
  4. Survey: The COVID-19 crisis finds over half of Romanians in a weak financial situation: The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has found Romanians in a fragile financial position, as over 50% of consumers state their current financial situation is at least somewhat weak, and only 20% expect it to improve in the near future, according to the Financial Pulse Survey conducted by the local McKinsey & Company.
  5. RO Govt. wants new study to evaluate nuclear plant expansion: EnergoNuclear, the project company set up by the Romanian Government for building two new nuclear reactors at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant, has launched a tender for updating the project’s feasibility study. The update should evaluate the scenario of a single new reactor and the baseline scenario of two reactors, Economica.net reported.
  6. Romanian gas transporter starts testing Iasi-Chisinau pipeline: Romania’s natural gas transport system operator Transgaz started the technical tests on the Iasi – Ungheni – Chisinau gas pipeline that would facilitate the exports of Romanian natural gas to Moldova, G4media.ro reported.
  7. PSA importer takes over the activity of the Opel brand in Romania: Trust Motors, the importer of PSA group brands (Peugeot, Citroen and DS Automobiles) in Romania, has announced that it will become the official importer of Opel on the local market as well.
  8. Fondul Proprietatea accelerates buy-back program with EUR 62 mln offer: Romania’s biggest investment fund Fondul Proprietatea (FP) will launch a buyback offer targeting 220 million own shares. The fund will pay RON 1.3 per share, 12% more than the current market price.
  9. Deals on Romania’s non-residential real estate market up 21% in H1: The volume of commercial real estate transactions in Romania, including offices, retail, industrial and logistics projects, and hotels, reached EUR 410 million in the first half of the year (H1), 21% more than in the same period last year. The properties in Bucharest accounted for almost 90% of the total, according to the report published by real estate consultancy firm JLL Romania.
  10. Survey: Nearly half of Romanians will not go on holiday this year: Almost half of the Romanians answering a survey done by classifieds platform OLX, said they would not go on holiday this year. Meanwhile, 38% of the respondents plan at least one vacation, while 17% have not yet decided on this matter.
  11. Biggest telecom group in Romania sees 10% business drop in Q2 due to the pandemic: Orange Romania, the country’s biggest telecom group, recorded a turnover of EUR 242 million in the second quarter of this year, down by 10% compared to the same period of 2019. The negative evolution was driven by a “significant drop” in equipment sales and a “moderate decline” in service revenues, amid the COVID-19 crisis, the company said in a press release.